Bit of local desert exploring visiting Fan Hill, Berdoo Canyon, Fargo Canyon, Thermal Canyon. Pretty day out on the desert.
Farrell, Vista Chino, Date Palm, Hwy 111 loop taking 1 hour 10 minutes. Last ride of 2009 for a total of 1787.8 miles for the year!
Araby trail, across the dip, Wildhorse junction, back down Araby. Beautiful day.
Garstin trail to Smoketree mtn, then loop through the middle mesa and back down. Cool overcast day.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 15 minutes.
Up and down the middle Lykken trail from Mesquite. Using my 1 watt handheld radio could hit the Chuckawalla repeater!
Hiked up the Shannon trail, over Smoketree mtn, across to top of Araby trail, over to Wildhorse junction, then back down the Shannon. Beautiful day. Love the desert after it's rained.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 18 minutes.
Eddie and i hiked the south Lykken trail.
Drove to Loma Linda in the evening and took test for technician class amateur radio license. Passed with 100% score!
Canyon loop taking 55 minutes. Temp was 60° and it was just on the edge of being too cold for me. I'm such a cold weather wimp.
Very quick midday hike about half way up the Shannon trail and back.
Araby trail to my Araby Hope geocache (GC9FD). Looked like there was a hiking club up on Smoketree mtns. Lots of people but not on my trail. Very pretty day.
Quick hike up and down the south Lykken. Felt good to be out in the warm sun.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 36 minutes.
I was parked south of PSP this afternoon across Kirk Douglas Way on a little dirt hump where i sometimes like to sit and watch planes landing. It's a perfect place to park and the little hump let me angle my truck up just right for plane watching. After i'd been there an hour or so airport ops came by and said i had to move. I told him i'd parked there before and ops in the past has said it was okay. He said it was airport property and that i could park along Airport Center Drive nearby but not on the vacant lot. I'd been there a while so i just went home. Later i called PS city zoning and had them look up the lot. It is indeed city property so i guess the ops guy was correct. Bummer.
Hiked up the Garstin to Smoketree mtn, down the Shannon, then back on the Henderson. Stopped by my Flag over Palm Springs geocache (GC2165) too. Nice loop taking about 1 hour and 35 minutes.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 5 minutes.
On Saturday some forum members are hiking the PCT from Snow Creek, over the peak, to the tramway. It's about 30 miles. That's just not a hike i'm interested in. But i wanted to hike the trail a bit so did my own shorter hike today. Started at the DWA gate about 9:30am and by noon, after 5.5 miles, i was only at the 3200' level. This trail takes such a round-about way to get anywhere. It is a pretty hike however through huge boulders and great views. On my way down i took a shortcut which may not have been the best idea but it worked out with only a few scrapes and no blood. Saved 2.5 miles and almost an hour of hiking time. Was done and back at my truck by 1:30pm after hiking a total of 8.68 miles.
Picked up Bryan and Heather at the Smoketree post office early this morning and drove to Thermal and up Martinez Canyon to the wilderness boundary. They are a doing backpacking trip to Agua Alta and then will continue on across Pinyon Flats and down Palm Canyon for another couple of nights. From the trailhead in Martinez Canyon i only hiked up about 3 miles to the fork just above the narrows and back. Lovely clear cool morning on the desert. Was good to meet Bryan and Heather and a great excuse for me to hike again in this beautiful area.
Perfectly clear and calm night with 40° overnight low. Warm and comfortable with both down bags. Departed camp 8:50am before the others and drove out of canyon a bit to get cellphone signal and called Wen. Drove south and then east through Jackass Canyon. Back on pavement at Kelbaker road. From there i headed south at 10:50am while everyone else goes north. As neat as Scott and Allen's rigs are i think i prefer my simple little truck without all the extra fancy, and expensive, equipment. Quick lunch in Amboy while a westbound BNSF goes by. Drove home the longer route via hwy 62, east to hwy 177, then south to Desert Center and I10. Home at 2:45pm. Drove 226 miles today, 430 miles trip total.
Got up at 2am and removed the rain fly as sky was clear. Was breezy off and on during night with 45° overnight low. Eddie and i got up before sunrise. Departed camp at 9am. Explored around Mesquite Spring a bit looking at petroglyphs then drove a mile or so NW to check out stone circles. Really nice being out with people that care about the land, want more wilderness, and pick up trash. Hung out at Crucero a while but no trains came by. Drove west along tracks to Afton Canyon and had lunch at the trestle. Again, no trains. Followed the Mojave Road east and across Soda Lake. No access to Zzyzx from Mojave Road. (I didn't think there was.) Camped up a wash on the west side of Old Dad mtns arriving about 3:30pm. Great view across valley to Crucero and all the way to Afton Canyon. Drove 48 miles today. Tracy and Allen made amazing chicken and potato stew for dinner. After campfire died down i used my laser to point out some stars and constellations for the others. Went to bed at 9:10pm.
Start three day Mojave Desert camping trip. Departed house with Eddie 9am at 85806 odo. Stopped at Vons for supplies. Sheephole Pass at 11am. Amboy at 11:30am. Short side trip to Ash Hill loop to watch a westbound BNSF go slowly up the grade. Ludlow at 1pm. Gas $3.49. Bought 6 gallons. In Ludlow met up with Scott Fajack, Mary-Austin Klein, Allen Anderson, and Tracy Stone. We tried to find road south to mine but doesn't appear to be open to public. From Ludlow we headed north across Broadwell dry lake. Found a nice camping spot near the Mojave Megaphone at the stone ovens. Nice there is some firewood here. Drove 156 miles today. Mary grilled salmon and vegies for dinner. Sat around campfire until the wind got too strong. Went to bed at 8:10pm with temp 64°. Then at 9:10pm the wind stopped, at 9:20pm light rain drops started, at 9:30pm got up and put rain fly on tent, and at 9:40pm the rain stopped.
City loop taking 58 minutes.
Hiked up Cahuilla Canyon (aka Oswitt Canyon but i prefer the other name) to the waterfall. I was hoping there might be a little trickle at the waterfall but it was totally dry. But was a nice hike. Haven't been all the way up the canyon for a while.
Many people from the Mt. San Jacinto message board are doing back-to-back Skyline accents today but for something different i thought i'd hike up and then back down. Started at 3:20am under a nice 3rd quarter moon. Hardly used flashlight at all. Left a quart of water and an Ensure in cache. The hike down wasn't too bad until the last couple of hours when my feet got sore. Down at 2:10pm.
Worked at the library this morning then went for a quick afternoon hike up and down the middle Lykken from the end of Mesquite Ave. Getting excited, and a bit apprehensive, about doing the Skyline this Saturday.
Hiked the Shannon trail, over Smoketree mtn (1522), and then up Hotdog hill (1770) and back. Tried to push myself a bit in preparation for Saturday's hike up and down the Skyline. Total time 2 hours 20 minutes.
Ramon, to Bob Hope, to Frank Sinatra, to 111, to Sunrise, to Ramon, to El Cielo, and back home taking 1 hour 10 minutes.
Eddie and i hiked the south Lykken trail this morning. It's been a while since Eddie has been hiking with me and he had a great time as usual. Here is a picture of him looking very regal.
Hiked up Murray Hill from Rimrocks. Clear cool day. About 25° cooler than last Friday when John and i hiked the Art Smith. Took 1 hour 15 minutes from trailhead to summit.
Hiked the Garstin/Smoketree loop. Tried hiking with two trekking poles today. Did not like. They just got in my way. But hiking with one pole is good. Beautiful day to be hiking on the desert.
Hiked the Art Smith trail with my buddy John. Left my truck in Andreas Hills and drove with John to trailhead off of hwy 74. Started hiking 8:20am. Just past Cat Canyon John decided he wasn't up for a through hike so he stopped and explored the Cat Canyon palm grove a while before waking back to his truck at the trailhead. I continued on my own. Was good to see John and catch up on things but i really prefer hiking alone anyway. Best of both this way. Also saved me driving John back to PD after the hike. Win, win, win. No foot prints or bike tracks at all on trail between Cat Canyon and Dunn Road. Nice. Reached the Dunn Road at 12:15pm at 8.4 miles. Started down from Hahn summit at 12:40pm. Reached Hahn/Vandeventer junction at 1:35pm at 12 miles. Hot afternoon (95° official high for PS) coming down Hahn Buena Vista and up Wildhorse trails. Down at 3:40pm at 16.8 miles. Tired and hot and my feet were pretty tender.
Saw a couple of Orionids from inside tent but didn't get up. Seemed more active last night. Overnight low 62°. Sunrise at 7:04am. Drove to Ella Wash turnout then rode east to Calcite overlook then west to Pegleg monument and back. 21.2 miles taking 1 hour 15 minutes. Took a break at Calcite overlook before driving home. Home at 12:10pm. Drove 76 miles today, 301 miles trip total.
Got up at 3:30am to watch for Orionid meteors. Saw a few. One especially bright one from inside tent. Light breeze off and on during night. Otherwise mostly calm. Overnight low 54°. Sunrise at 7:56am. Departed camp at 8:50am and parked at S2 for a bike ride. Rode north uphill into a strong headwind to Agua Caliente county park then back to Bow Willow road. 22.8 miles taking 1 hour 26 minutes. After ride drove back up and parked near my campsite to relax and enjoy the beautiful morning. Noticed a helicopter working the Carrizo Gorge area so drove over to check. Found the fish and game dept set up on east side of S2 across from Bow Willow working on bighorn survey and tagging. Watched them for about an hour and talked with the guy that seemed to be in charge. He appeared to appreciate my interest but did tell me i should get out of the way of the helicopter. Oops. Felt kind of sorry for the sheep being flown in dangling below the helicopter. Must be very stressful for them. Like an alien abduction. Headed north from Bow Willow area at 1pm. Sardines for lunch in Blair Valley. Borrego Springs library at 2:10pm and use wifi for a while. Camped along Beckman Wash road arriving at 3:45pm. Heavy infestation of Sahara Mustard in the area. But of course it's all dead this time of year. Calm still afternoon. Lovely view across the Borrego Valley, Coyote mtn, Rockhouse Canyon, and Rabbit Peak ridge line. Sunset at 5:45pm. Temp 76°. Beautiful evening. View of Borrego Springs lights, stars and Milky Way overhead, pretty little crescent moon about to set, and even strong cellphone signal to call Wen. Just about perfect. Brought the TV76 but didn't set it up either night. Canned herring and corn for dinner. Went to bed early a bit after 8pm. Drove 67 miles today.
Departed house at 11:45am heading for the AB desert. 85311 odo. Took a break at Calcite Canyon overlook. Breezy but otherwise pretty and clear. Two trailers were camping at Pegleg monument. Weren't any last time i drove by. Pretty soon all the snowbirds will be back. Stopped at market in Borrego Springs and didn't even use library wifi. Departed BS southbound at 1:20pm. Drove through Bow Willow. Vacant. Stopped on Egg Mtn for half hour or so to check email and enjoy view. Quite windy. Drove south to park boundary and turned around. Border Patrol station was active. Back north to Carrizo Valley site arriving at 3:35pm. Two Navy helicopters passed over northbound just as i arrived. Must be the welcoming committee. Temp at 4pm is 86°. Breezy off and on. Otherwise perfect. Doesn't look like anyone has camped here for a long time. No tracks or footprints. Sunset up the canyon at 5:32pm. Temp 78°. Bowl of noodles for dinner. Two very quiet helicopters came up Carrizo Gorge after dark. Assuming they were Border Patrol. I don't think they saw me. Went to bed around 9pm. Drove 158 miles today.
Hiked Palm Canyon south from Hermit's Bench to Dry Wash, then east to Vandeventer trail, then north to Hahn Buena Vista trail junction, and then west back to the east fork. Temps a bit warmer than i was expecting but otherwise a beautiful day. 3 hours 20 minutes total hiking time. After hike while parked along the Andreas Canyon road relaxing and just enjoying view a migrating colony of bees flew by NW bound! Also chatted a bit with the ranger i saw early at start of my hike. Nice guy.
Canyon loops taking 1 hour 2 minutes.
Hiked Shannon trail over Smoketree mtn, looped through the middle, and back down. Cool overcast day almost feels like it might rain. Clouds low over the Little San Bernardino mtns across the valley. I was almost chilly on my way down. Took 35 minutes to get to peak, 1 hour 25 mintutes total hiking time.
City/canyon loop taking 58 minutes.
Got up at 6am and departed before my gun-totting neighbors were awake. Overnight low 62°. Watched a fast westbound at Cadiz crossing. The lights to the east i saw last night appear to be from a well drilling site. Drove to Amboy and since i was down to about 1/3 tank pulled up to the pumps at Roy's. A guy came out and asked if i wanted gas so i bought $20 worth. Price was $3.35. (Make note to bring 5 gallon gas can on next Mojave trip.) Had my morning coffee next to tracks in Amboy and watched a couple of trains pass. Driving south stopped along Cleghorn Lakes road west of Sheephole pass to update tripnotes and just enjoyed a bit of quiet desert time. Thought about driving home via Desert Center but it's quite a bit longer so took 29 Palms route instead. Home at 10:40am. Drove 120 miles today, 403 miles trip total.
Overnight low temp 49°. Sunrise 7:10am. Just heard on radio that Obama won the Nobel prize for peace! Total train count: 4 eastbound, 3 westbound. Departed camp 8:35am and drove south to the wilderness boundary and back. Stopped at the crossing while a westbound passed. Head west out of Kelso along tracks at 9:35am. Let's see how far we can go. (Listening to Rush Limbaugh on radio whinging about Obama winning the Nobel prize. It's just insult after insult after insult. What a pathetic little excuse of a man is Limbaugh.) The route west from Kelso along the tracks goes through! A bit rough at times as parts are "paved" with sharp ballast rocks. Saw a railroad maintenance worker and a guy driving a vehicle with government plates and both were friendly and did not seemed bothered i was driving along the tracks. Watched a westbound at Crucero at 11am. Found the Mojave Megaphone south of Crucero. What an amazing thing! Has to be the most peculiar man-made object i've ever seen on the desert. Surprised the Garmin Nuvi shows most of the unpaved roads i've been driving today. Finally have cellphone access at Broadwell lake. Called Wen and had sardines for lunch. (I love canned sardines.) Bought ice in Ludlow. The Chevron minimart is a bit of culture shock after being alone on the desert. In retrospect probably should have bought a few gallons of gas. I don't think i've ever been to Ludlow before last month and now i've been twice in less than four weeks. Stopped to watch a couple of trains pass at Siberia siding. BNSF line sure is a lot more active than the UP line. Continued on to my Cadiz site arriving at 3pm. Sat in shade of truck and shot off 8 Beretta rounds for fun. Some little bats are flying around before sunset. Set up tent this time. When i was here a month ago i just slept in the open truck bed. In three hours i've seen more trains here than i did all night near Kelso yesterday. Canned beans for dinner. Only thing i don't like about this site, and it's really not that annoying, is the pump/generator that runs constantly a couple miles south. Guess that's a fair trade-off for having strong cellphone signal. Sunset at 6:10pm with 80° temp. Quite a bit warmer tonight. Last night i was wearing long pants, sweater and jacket. Tonight just shorts and a shirt. Noticed an odd glow over the ridge just east toward Essex. Almost looks like skyglow from a small town or shopping center but i don't think there's anything over there. Curious. Lots of cars northbound over Sheephole pass tonight. After dark two pickup trucks pulled into lower fire ring and started shooting guns. So much for quiet evening. Not sure if they knew i was nearby so yelled out to them that there are people up here! A bit apprehensive about my armed neighbors. Thought about packing up and moving but decided to stay since i'd already pitched the tent. They didn't shoot for long and were quiet otherwise. Strong wind came up after i was in tent lasted until about 2am when it just stopped and remained calm the rest of the night. Drove 108 miles today.
Departed house at 10:20am at 84847 odo heading north for the Mojave desert. Gas $2.89 in 29 Palms. Arrived Amboy at 12:30pm and stopped by tracks west of town to watch an eastbound BNSF. Drove up Bristol mtn road to the microwave station. A guy was working on the generator and left the gate open. Very good timing on my part! I've always wanted to drive up this road. Checked out a nice mine tunnel at base of Bristol mtn road. Counted 95 paces deep. Reminded me of the tunnel up Fargo canyon. Arrived Kelso 2:45pm. Asked the rangers about driving route along tracks westbound. They were sort of non-committal if i could drive or not. Didn't say i could, but didn't say i couldn't. It seems i will have to check myself. Drove up to Cedar canyon road junction and then back to Hayden siding and the Globe Mine road. Camped about a half mile south of RR tracks. Nice spot. Can see Kelso, the dunes, Marl Spring, Beale mtns, Granite mtns, and beautiful Providence mtns behind me. GPS says elevation is 2588'. Sunset at 6:14pm with 69° temp. Breezy afternoon but calm after dark. Set up tent on other side of road in a nice flat spot. Tent looks really cute after dark with the little solar patio light outside. I realize it's not really all that cold but i have on all my clothes sitting outside in the evening: Sweat pants under jeans, shirt under sweater under jacket, warm hat. Sardines for dinner. Skyglow from Las Vegas very bright but relatively localized. Otherwise sky is very dark. Need more trains! Only 3 trains by 9pm. Glad i'm not doing the train drinking game today as i'd be dying of thirst right now. The UP must be having problems. BNSF line through Amboy is much busier. Walked back down to the crossing at 9pm to watch an eastbound go by in the dark. Moonrise at 9:38pm behind a pointy peak. Weird to see the moon again as i saw it in the west this morning at about 10:30am as i was leaving town. It takes eastbound trains a full hour from when they come into view in the west until they vanish in the west. Went to bed about 10:30pm. Drove 175 miles today.
Canyon loop taking 42 minutes.
Up the Araby trail, across the dip, over to Wildhorse junction, then across and back down Araby taking 1 hour 50 minutes.
Skyline to 4300' level and back. Venus and Mercury visible low in the east before sunrise but could not spot Saturn. Got to Wrong Way Rock in exactly 2 hours which is my reference time. 10 miles round trip distance taking 5 hours 20 minutes total time. Love this trail!
Climbed Murray Hill via the Theleman trailhead. Took 1 hour 16 minutes, including a 5 minute break, to get to the top. Coming down took 1 hour 15 minutes without stopping. Not counting the break my uphill speed is faster than downhill speed. Tried out my new REI Stoke 19 pack for the first time. Loaded it with 5 quarts of water as a test (only needed about 2 quarts) and the pack was great. The waist belt really kept the load off my back and shoulders. Hardly felt like i was carrying any weight at all.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 12 minutes.
Departed house at 1:30pm and drove to Salton Sea. Found the Corvina Beach and Salt Creek campgrounds both closed. I think just summer closures. Thought about driving over to AB desert but didn't really feel like it and i'm in mood to watch trains. Decided to camp at Mecca Beach, site #135, on south edge of campground near the water. Only one other site occupied with a big 5th wheel trailer. Otherwise campground vacant. Fee $15 per night. Comfortable afternoon temp wise but breezy. Noticed the moon is up in the east at 5pm. A few days before full. Amtrak Sunset Limited passed eastbound at 5:50pm. Sunset at 6:13pm. Disappointed there are very few trains today. Only 3 trains by 7pm. Still quite breezy at 8pm. Set up tent on beach. Tent bag blew away but found it after a bit of searching in the dark. Overnight low temp 68°. Total train count: 9 westbound, 5 eastbound. Departed camp at 6am and drove to Corvina Beach to watch sunrise. Departed Corvina 7am. Drove through Mecca and considered biking up Box Canyon road but decided not to ride and just drove home instead.
Hiked the north Lykken trail from Ramon to the Skyline warning sign.
Hiked the Fuller Ridge trail to summit junction with Larry Hogue. 16 mile round trip was more strenuous and exposed than i remembered. Legs are a bit sore but at least no blisters. The SCA was doing some heavy duty work along the trail.
Up and down the middle Lykken trail from west end of Mesquite Ave. Temps still a bit on the warm side.
Drove up to Cottonwood this afternoon departing house at 3:30pm. Arrived Cottonwood at 4:45pm. Temp at 5pm was 86°. Breezy afternoon. Rode to trailhead and visitor center. Big tour bus at visitor center with a lot of people out in desert area looking at bushes. Camped in site 2A on lower loop. Upper loop is closed. Only one other site was occupied when i arrived. A motor home arrived about 7pm but everyone very quiet. Almost like i had the campground to myself. Sunset at 6:22pm. Winds calm at 8pm with 72° temp. Crescent moon set at 8:35pm. Observations with TV76: Comet C/2006 W3 Christensen in Aquila easily seen, diffuse, no tail visible. In Sagittarius 6822 Barnard's Galaxy plus a bunch of globulars: 6528, 6522, 6569, 6558, M69, M70, M54, M28, 6638, M22, 6642, 6544, 6553, M75 and big old M55 way out all by itself. In Scorpius very dim globular 6453 adjacent to M7. In Aquarius M72, M73, 7009 the Saturn nebula, and 7293 the Helix nebula. M30 in Capricornus. For fun checked out the M81/M82 galaxy pair low on the northern horizon. Also did some random wandering through the star clusters of Cassiopeia and Perseus. Temp at 10pm was 66°. Didn't set up tent but probably should have. Also only had wool sweater and should have brought a warmer jacket. Considered just driving home but decided to stay and sleep in truck bed. Overnight low temp 56°. Wednesday morning rode from park boundary north on main road and back. 18.8 miles taking 1 hour 20 minutes. (55 minutes going up, 25 minutes coming back.) 36.9 max speed. Weather for this trip was just about perfect both for stargazing and for bike ride. Although i'm always dismayed how bright skyglow is at Cottonwood these days. But overall was a very nice little trip close to home. After ride sat in ironwood shade along aqueduct road to unwind watching trucks on the interstate. Got home about 10:30am.
City/canyon loop taking 58 minutes.
Drove to Mt. Laguna with Eddie via Anza and Warner Springs departing home at 11:20am. Arrived Mt. Laguna 1:50pm and set up in site #6 on the meadow loop. This is one of the sites that only allows 2 people max and it's also one of my favorites. The camping fee is now $19/night up from $17 last year. Calm clear warm afternoon. Temp 80° at 3pm. Lots of little flies or gnats but they don't seem to be the biting kind. Went for walk out to rocks and around the upper meadow with Eddie. Talked to Dean Jacobsen in site #15 and talked about his imaging setup. You can see his spectacular astro photos at Celestrial Starscapes. Spent evening doing some random stargazing with TV76 and 10x42 binoculars. Could see Barnard's Galaxy through both instruments. Eddie was cold so he spent most of the evening in truck. Overnight low about 45°. Cooler than i was expecting. Friday morning went for another walk around meadow with Eddie before i rode south on Sunrise hwy to Morris Ranch road and back. 12.2 miles taking 51 minutes. 36.9 max speed! Left Eddie in his cage in the truck bed. He didn't seem to mind. Drove to store for beer and ice and back to camp about 1pm. Moved to site #13 that Kevin and Angie had reserved. Campground getting a bit busier Friday afternoon. Grilled chicken dinner and salad with Kevin and Angie. Sat around campfire after dinner talking with Kevin. Annoying stargazers in site #14 with goto scopes they don't know how to use running generator until midnight. Saturday morning the loud astronomers next door woke me up at 6am by slamming car doors. Why don't people have any sense or consideration? Left Eddie with Kevin and Angie while i rode north on Sunrise hwy and back. 13.4 miles taking 57 minutes. 38.4 max speed!! When i got back from ride found that Jim Doss had arrived. Departed camp sometime around 11am and gave Jim a ride south as he wanted to hike a road and hide some caches. Drove home via Banner and AB desert. Stopped at library in Borrego Springs to use wifi. Considered spending 3rd night at Truckhaven but decide too tired and too hot so we drove home instead.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 28 minutes.
Departed house at 1pm headed for Cadiz. Stopped at Giant Rock and chatted with some women out on a desert trip. Gave them my Stargazing.com card and asked them to keep in touch. From Giant Rock drove SE to Reche Road then Border Road to Joshua Tree then highway 62 to 29 Palms. Gas $3.19 in 29 Palms. Departed 29 Palms at 3:45pm and arrived Amboy at 4:30pm. Arrived Cadiz site just before 5pm at 678. 150 miles today. Temp at 5pm is 105°. Little yellow railroad survey truck drove by westbound on rails. Looks like fun. The site where i usually camp at the fire ring is a bit trashed. Camped instead up little hill a quarter mile east. Better view from the hill too. Just noticed that i think Mt. San Gorgonio summit is visible from here. Not positive. Shot off 8 rounds with the Beretta. Bring more ammo next time. Mostly cloudy evening which is really a disappointment as this site is very dark for stargazing. Temp at 8pm is 96°. Can see headlights on hwy 62 far to the SE. And lots of cars northbound over Sheephole pass. Even with the clouds earlier after dark the Milky Way is very bright overhead. Couple of flashes of lightning or perhaps military bombing to the west. Train count at 10pm: 4 westbound, 8 eastbound. High clouds moved back over after 10pm leaving only brightest stars visible. Temp at 11pm is 88°. Eastbound Amtrak Southwest Chief at 11:45pm. Overnight low temp 76°. Slept in truck bed without tent. Total train count: 11 westbound, 16 eastbound, 27 trains total. Departed camp around 7:30am heading west on Route 66. Stopped at the Amboy Crater viewpoint but didn't hike to crater. Continued west through Ludlow and Newberry Springs (passing by Bagdad Cafe) to Barstow. Thought about taking backroads through Rodman mtns to Johnson Valley but the route didn't look inviting. Plus the AAA map shows a locked gate on one of the roads. Departed Barstow southbound on hwy 247 at 10:30am. Drove home via Lucerne Valley and Yucca Valley. Home at 12:40pm. 206 miles today, 356 miles trip total.
Quick hike up and down the south Lykken trail. Not a long hike but this and the Shannon are perhaps my two favorite local trails.
Nice evening pass of the international space station and space shuttle Discovery. The shuttle was a few seconds ahead of the station.
Good hike up the Shannon trail this morning. Looking forward to cooler temps and getting back out on the desert this fall!
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 4 minutes. Broke the 18 miles in 1 hour goal finally. Hard to do in town.
Viewed Jupiter a bit after 9pm with TV76 finding only Ganymede visible very close to the disk. 30 minutes later it would also be gone. Very odd to see Jupiter without any of its Galilean moons.
Garstin to Smoketree mtn loop. Warm but good!
Short city loop taking 42 minutes.
Tramway to Mt. San Jacinto summit and back. Only a few people on the trails today and the air is a bit smoky from LA area fires. This will probably be my last tramway hike of the summer as my pass expires the end of August. Rode the tram 13 times this year working out to about $4.61 per trip. Today i splurged and bought a beer at the mtn station. Time to summit hut 1 hour 54 minutes was 12 minutes slower than a month ago. I haven't done any strenuous hikes at altitude in over a month and i felt it a bit today.
Anza-Borrego ride from Borrego Springs east on S22 to Arroyo Salado and back. 32.8 miles taking 1 hour 52 minutes.
Anza-Borrego camping trip leaving house at 12:15pm. Sorry to find the Solimar market in Salton City appears to be out of business. Continued on to Borrego Springs stopping by the library to use wifi. The library is closed on Monday but the wifi still works so sat outside a while. Headed back east and after a short stop along Font's Wash arrived at Ella Wash about 3:40pm. High temp for the afternoon was 105°. Calm afternoon but breezy later. Sunset at 7:08pm. Can see Mercury and Saturn through binoculars low in the west after sunset. Jupiter was overhead all night. Mars and Venus in the morning sky. Photographed a nice scorpion with blacklight. No snakes this time. Breezy all evening but not really annoyingly so. Decided to skip the tent and just slept in truckbed. Got up very early Tuesday just as it was getting light. Overnight low 78°. Nice quiet morning in camp then drove back to Borrego Springs for a bike ride.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 2 minutes. Hard to get over 18 mph average speed in town with all the stop signs and traffic lights.
Canyon loops taking 56 minutes.
Did a little poking around on the east desert today: Cottonwood Spring (campground vacant), aqueduct road to Hayfield pumping station, I10 to Desert Center where i turned around and took the Box Canyon road to Mecca. Good taco lunch in Indio on the way home.
Rode south from San Clemente through Camp Pendleton and back taking 3 hours 14 minutes. Didn't quite go all the way to Oceanside but almost. Wasted about a half hour trying to find the correct route southbound out of San Clemente. Interesting to ride on the military base. You have to show ID at the guard station to enter.
In San Clemente with Wen and Kai for a short overnight vacation. Rode north along coast from San Clemente to Dana Point harbor and back.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 2 minutes.
Nice little hike from the tramway today to Mini Cache One (GC272F) and Mini Cache Two (GC29A8). These are two of my favorite mountain caches and i visit them at least once a summer.
Canyon loops taking 54 minutes.
Went out early this morning from about 1am to 2am but only saw two Perseids. Tried again in the evening from 10pm until the moonrise around 11pm and counted seven more. This year counted nine Perseids total. Not the best show but that's okay. I have bad luck with meteor showers. However i'm really pleased that i can still just barely see the Milky Way from my back yard. It's very faint but i can see it!
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 32 minutes.
Warm hike up and down the Shannon trail.
Afternoon canyon loop taking 45 minutes.
Hiked up the Skyline starting in the dark at 5am carrying 7 quarts of water with the intent of replenishing my water cache at the 5700' level. But once i was on the trail just didn't feel like continuing so only went as far as Dry Falls Overlook before turning around.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 18 minutes. Temps a bit cooler today.
Five day (four night) vacation in Chicago with Wen staying at the Hotel Burnham. Lovely hotel in the historic Reliance Building at the corner of State and Washington streets. Some highlights of the trip were the Loop, Millennium Park and the Cloud Gate, Willis (Sears) Tower, Adler Planetarium, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Miracle Mile, and eating at Mr. Beef (best beef sandwich), The Wieners Circle (best burger), Superdawg (best Chicago dog), pizza at Lou Malnati's, and Caffe Florian (best name). Chicago is a fun city full of friendly people. We had a great time!
Canyon loops taking 56 minutes.
Nice western pass over the mountains of the space station (STS) followed by the space station (ISS) about half a minute later. The two spacecraft had just undocked earlier in the day. Then about 5 minutes later the Progress M67 supply ship followed.
East on Dinah Shore, south on Cathedral Canyon, west on 111 to downtown PS, then east on Tahquitz to home. Pretty good loop taking 56 minutes.
Hiked from the tramway to Mt. San Jacinto. Got to the summit cabin in 1 hour 42 minutes. Personal record time.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 20 minutes. Good ride with overcast sky keeping the temps down a bit.
Hiked from the tramway to Round Valley with Wen then back via the High trail. Nice little loop.
Cottonwood campground to Porcupine wash and back.
Drove up to Cottonwood in the afternoon arriving just before 6pm. 98° is about 10 degrees cooler than at home. Site 15A in lower loop. Upper loop closed for summer. Bit breezy with big thunderheads to north but the wind died down and was calm by nightfall. Greek salad from John's for dinner. Visited with Vern and Victoria and their 18" DOB for a few hours. Lightning far to the north after dark but can't hear thunder. Slept outside on the picnic table. Overnight low 75°. Ranger came by early Tuesday before sunrise and noticed i hadn't paid my camping fee. Oops.
Hiked from the tramway up Mt. San Jacinto. Got to the summit cabin in 1 hour 44 minutes. Nice day on the trail and saw a few friends... Doreen, Liz, and Mark.
City loop taking 1 hour.
Drove up to Boulder Basin with Wen, Kai, and Eddie. Departed home about 10am and arrived a bit before noon. Site #34 on the lower level. Best site same as last year. Relaxed in camp all afternoon reading and listening to podcasts. Great BBQ steak for dinner. In the morning Eddie and i walked up the fire lookout while Wen and Kai were still asleep. After breakfast we all hiked Fuller Ridge trail to state park boundary. I hiked a bit farther to Castle Rocks. Returned to camp and packed up. Arrived home a bit after 1pm.
Went for a nice loop hike from the tramway south over Hidden Divide, across Willow Creek and Tahquitz Valley, a short rest break at Saddle Junction, then up to Wellman's Divide, and back to the tram. Besides a group of very polite scouts near Willow Creek i hardly saw anyone on the trails until Wellman's. The loop is about 12 miles taking me 4 hours 20 minutes to complete.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 6 minutes. 18 miles was long enough with 100° temp.
Rode the 10am tramcar and walked to Round Valley to meet up with Jim Doss. Jim had camped near RV the night before and had already been to the peak and back by the time i arrived about 11am. Checked out his new Marmot Eos 1P tent. Neat tent! Very small and light weight. I returned to the tram via the High trail.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 8 minutes.
Nice pass of the Space Station (ISS) in clear sky with full moon plus a bonus southbound Iridum crossing just ahead of the station.
Hiked the Vivian Creek trail to Mt. San Gorgonio today. It's been many years since i've hiked this trail and i really enjoyed it. A fair number of people on the trail right before the holiday but not what i'd call crowded. I was asked to show my permit twice, once going up and once again coming down, by different rangers. Nice water at High Creek. Temp at the summit was about 54°. The hike down is really harder than going up. My poor feet. Trailhead to summit took me 3 hours 45 minutes. Roundtrip distance per GPS was 19 miles taking 8 hours 16 minutes total time. Today's hike marks a mini-milestone for me... Climbing the highest peaks in Riverside (San Jac on Monday), Los Angeles (Baldy on Wednesday), and San Bernardino (San G today) counties all in one week. (5 days actually.)
Had a great hike up Mt. San Antonio today! (I like that name better than Baldy.) Went up from Manker Flat via the direct trail passing by the ski hut. That's one steep trail! Especially a couple sections above the "bowl". Took me 2 hours 15 minutes to get to the summit. No one was there when i arrived but a few other hikers that i had passed en route arrived shortly after. Beautiful day on top with clear air and some pretty puffy clouds here and there. A different view than what i'm accustomed to from the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mtns. I came down via the "backbone" trail and the ski area. I liked the backbone trail a lot and i'm glad i came down that way. However the ski area wasn't so great. Kind of ruins the wilderness experience. Walked down a very steep route that basically followed the lift towers. My total time for the loop was exactly 5 hours.
Hiked from the tramway to Mt. San Jacinto peak. I tried to push myself a bit to see how fast i could reach the summit taking 1 hour 50 minutes from Long Valley to the top. Trails were quiet. Had the peak completely to myself. Really nice day with some light rain sprinkles on my way down near Round Valley.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 35 minutes. Getting a bit warm.
Rode up the (very full) 10am tramcar and hiked over San Jacinto, down the west side through Little Round Valley and Deer Springs to the Strawberry Trail and back over Wellmans returning to the tram. What a great loop this is! Lovely flow of water in Little Round Valley and beautiful ferns along the Deer Springs trail. A bit long at 16.6 miles (based on map distances) for the late 10am tramcar. I did get a bit warm in mid-afternoon coming back up from Strawberry Junction. Doing the peak last Saturday there were hundreds of hikers on the trails. Today i saw maybe half a dozen hikers between the tram and summit. From the summit all the way around Deer Springs and Strawberry trails back to Wellmans i didn't pass a single other hiker! The loop took me 6.5 hours getting back to the tram in time to catch the 5pm car down.
Hiked up Theleman trail, across to top of Araby trail, back across the dip to Smoketree mtn, and down Garstin trail. Great morning loop. Warm day but felt really good to be outside on the trails.
Drove up to Cottonwood campground after dinner and met up with Joe and Anne in the lower loop. (Upper loop was closed for summer.) Enjoyed a very nice evening trading views through their Obsession 18" UC and my TV76. Really impressed with Joe's 13mm Ethos eyepiece! Simply amazing views. It made my little TV76 feel like a new scope. Also had fun playing with their new little doggies ... Astro and Orion. (Even though Orion chewed through my bootlace.) I stayed until a bit after midnight and then drove home.
Rode the up tram and met Tina and Michael at the top of the Skyline trail. They started their hike at 4am at the museum. From Long Valley we hiked to the peak going up via the Davis trail and then the old non-maintained Tamarack trail. Huge numbers of hikers on the trails today. I don't think i've ever seen so many people at the summit. After our hike relaxed in the tramway bar with Tina, Michael, Steve, Walt and Jean. Fun day, but not one for any solitude.
Climbed Mt. San Gorgonio from the South Fork trailhead today. Started at 8am and reached summit at 12:15pm going up via the Dollar Lake trail. Temp was 36° on the summit with 3/16" hail just starting to fall. If the hail had started early on my accent i think i'd have turned back. I went down the east side via Dry Lake. Only saw one other person on the trails all day. Total distance was exactly 24 miles per GPS. Besides running a Marathon years ago that's the farthest distance i've ever covered on foot in a single day. Was a really great hike! Next time i'll come up the Vivian Creek trail.
Quick hike up and down the Shannon trail.
City/canyon loop taking 1 hour 20 minutes.
Hiked Murray Hill from Rimrocks via Wildhorse trail going up the south face and coming down the north face. I usually do this loop in the opposite direction for some reason. I'm really enjoying the nice cool weather we've been having. Temps are normally well over 100° in the desert by now. 7.84 miles total distance taking 3 hours 10 minutes.
Hiked up the Araby trail, across to Wildhorse junction, up Hotdog hill, back across and down the Shannon trail, then followed wash back to my truck at the foot of the Araby. Neat loop. 6.14 miles taking 2 hours 15 minutes.
Another one of those local trail i've not hiked in a long time is the Art Smith. Today starting from Hwy 74 hiked about 4.6 miles up to a spot just south of Cat Creek. I went up via the original trailhead and came down the new trailhead. I need to plan another through hike from 74 to PS in the fall. Today's hike was 9.2 miles taking 3 hours 40 minutes total.
Hiked the Skyline trail yet again. Three times in less than a month after not hiking the trail for many years. Today i started from the Ramon trailhead at 6:30am and hiked to about the 4300' level and back. Amazing weather for June. The temp at 9:30am when i turned around was 58°. That's unheard of for this time of year. Took my time and just enjoyed the trail. Didn't see anyone else and had the trail to myself except for a friendly rosy boa that was happy to see me. I got back to my truck at noon. 5 hour 30 minute hiking time covering 10.8 miles. Love this trail.
Hiked the middle Lykken trail to my Tahquitz Overlook (GC2569) geocache. Nice overcast morning keeping the temps down. Even felt a few very light rain sprinkles.
Rode east on Ramon and Dinah Shore, south on Bob Hope to Country Club, then back via Morningside, Frank Sinatra and hwy 111.
Hiked from the tramway down to Carumba camp and back. First time i've been all the way down to Carumba. About 13 miles round trip taking 5 hours 55 minutes including time spent poking around the waterfalls. Today is also my birthday!
City/canyon loop. 134 miles total for the month.
Hiked south Lykken to the Descanso trail junction and back. Warm but nice. No one else on the trails.
Anza-Borrego overnight trip. Departed house just after noon Tuesday. Sunny day with moderate temps. Drove up Coyote Canyon to lower willows. Water deep in crossing. Was worried i was going to flood engine. Considered camping in Coyote Canyon near desert garden but decided to move to Ella Wash. Coyote Canyon is nice but Ella is home. Arrived at campsite 5pm with 95° temp. Smoketrees are in bloom and full of bees. Warm quiet afternoon. Sunset at 7:32pm. Pretty crescent moon. Perfect calm still evening. Sardines for dinner. Granola and milk for dessert. ISS pass in NE 9pm. Disappointing night sky. Some random galaxies in Leo/Virgo through TV76. Maybe i'm just not interested. Sunrise at 5:50am Wednesday. Overnight low 66°. Hiked Rattlesnake Ridge to 3100' level. 7.14 miles round trip taking about 3.5 hours. Somewhat hazy day so views aren't the best. Fresh sheep tracks on trail. Saw a rattlesnake crossing trail in front of me on my way down. Good hike with warmish temps. I really like this trail.
Hiked both ends of the Skyline today! How you ask? Read on ... My plan was to hike up the Skyline with my friend Eric and leave a cache of water somewhere around the 6000' level. Starting at 5am we started up the Skyline via the museum trail. However about a mile up Eric was having knee problems so reluctantly we canceled the hike and walked back down. I felt bad for Eric. He's never hiked the Skyline and really wanted to go. However i then initiated my backup Plan B. I rode the 8am tram and hiked down the Skyline to a nice little saddle at about the 5700' level and left a gallon cache of water/Gatorade in a plastic paint bucket. The cache is about 1/4 mile NE of Flat Rock in plain view on south side of trail. I considered leaving at Flat Rock but seems everyone stops there and thought the cache might get overused/depleted unnecessarily. Also there is shade at the spot i picked and you can see tramcar pass to the north. Hope this extra fluid helps someone out someday. Also hope it doesn't get trashed or become a nuisance. I'll remove if it does. I left 3 quarts inside with a spare on top with a note asking that it be used by people in need only. If any of you regular Skyline hikers want to contribute spare water while in the area please do! It was also fun to run into some of the same hikers at the top of the trail that i saw earlier at the bottom! Funny WTF expressions on their faces.
Shannon trail, loop through middle mesa, and over Smoketree mtn. Some clouds kept the temps down a bit.
I've been experimenting making my own "gatorade" type drink for hiking and cycling. This recipe is working pretty good for me ...
• 2 quarts water
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt substitute (1200mg potassium)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (575mg sodium)
• Kool-Aid lemon-lime flavor packet
A 16 ounce serving contains 96 calories, 300mg potassium, and 140mg sodium. Tastes good too.
Hiked the Skyline trail from Ramon to upper tram station. Started at 6am and arrived at the Long Valley crest at 12:30pm. 6.5 hours total hiking time is pretty good time given the heat and that i haven't hiked the trail in over 20 years. Was fun to revisit an area where i spent many hours hiking and camping in my youth.
Up the Garstin, over Smoketree mtn, across to the middle junction, then back down Garstin. Nice warmish hike.
Visited the Mission Creek Preserve this morning. First time i've ever been there. Interesting area. I liked the old stone buildings. Went for a very short hike up the west fork.
Bought my summer tramway pass today and went for first mtn hike. Just did my regular 2 hour loop to Round Valley and then back via the High trail. Still a bit of snow on the ground and a good flow of water in the creek.
Drove to Anza-Borrego departing home at 10:45am. Stopped at market and used wifi in Borrego Springs. Arrived at my Carrizo Valley site about 2pm. Warmish afternoon 95°. Breezy. High clouds move over at 4pm. With the wind i didn't want to mess with stove so had easy dinner of canned 3 bean salad. Using my old Sierra Designs Flashlight tent for a change. Breezy all night. Overnight low 75°. Windy and overcast Tuesday morning. Left camp early and drove up south fork. Surprised it's not windy at road end. Climbed Sombrero peak to 3870' level. Decided against going all the way to top. Just feeling a bit too vulnerable out by myself and no one knowing where i am in case of an accident. [“The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life.” --William Shakespeare, 'King Henry IV part I'] The climb is very steep too. Also thinking about those pics on rattlesnakebite.org isn't helping. But the outcropping i got to was very neat. Can see all of southern AB. Also can see the Goat Canyon railroad trestle. Very cool. Got back to truck about 10am. Total hiking distance 2.92 miles taking 2 hrs 34 mins. Drove up north fork then stopped at my campsite on way out to clean up a bit and transcribe notes. Still windy at campsite. Only one site occupied in Bow Willow. Still very windy in south so headed back north. Sardine lunch in Blair Valley. Used open wifi at Stagecoach Trails RV park. The office was closed but wifi worked fine on the porch. Stopped for ice in Borrego Springs but decided it's just too windy to camp another night. Took my time driving back getting home about 4:40pm. 288 miles trip total.
Rode out highway 111 to Palm Desert and back. Hwy 111 is a fun ride when there isn't too much traffic.
Hiked up the Guadalupe trail while John and Marty hiked down from Pinyon Flats. We had planned to meet in middle and then all walk down together. However we missed each other so i turned around at Cowboy Camp and hiked down alone returning to my truck at 3:40pm. Hot and tired. John and Marty didn't get down until 5:30pm and then i drove John back home to Pinyon Flats. Long day.
Climbed Eisenhower mtn from the La Quinta side with Elliot and Sean. The route started with a bit of a trail but once we hit the ridge we were on our own. Haven't done any rock scrambling like that for a long time. Saw some relatively fresh bighorn sign but didn't actually see any animals.
Drove to Mecca and biked the Box Canyon road to the freeway and back. Great ride! Steady climb with a tailwind all the way up and a good ride back downhill into the wind. Very little traffic. I think i'll be doing this ride again.
Did some exploring up Fargo and Rockhouse Canyons NE of Indio. Haven't been up Fargo for a few years. I was susprised to find no sign of vehicle closure along the route. The last time i was in the canyon vehicle traffic was blocked at the park boundary with signs and large boulders across the path. Today instead of driving i decided to hike up to the old mine tunnel in Rockhouse Canyon. I used to have a geocache in the tunnel before the park service ruled against them. Measured the tunnel at 85 paces deep. There is another similar tunnel up the canyon above Fan Hill to the west. Need to plan a hike there sometime soon. On my way home had Mexican food for lunch in Indio. Fun day!
Hiked the Cactus Spring trail with John Purcell today. John lives in the Pinyon Flats area so hikes this area fairly often. I haven't hiked this trail for probably 20 years. Nice flow of water in Horsethief Creek and a very small pool of water at Cactus Spring hidden in the grasses. Pretty day but a bit warm climbing back out from Horsethief Creek back to the trailhead.
Quick warm hike up the Shannon trail.
Up the canyons and around town. Not much riding this month.
Short hike up Cahuilla Canyon. Wildflowers are pretty much gone. But no matter; it's always nice hiking up this canyon.
Breezy most of the night. Strong at times but not really a problem. Overnight low 58°. Mostly calm in morning. Lots of birds with one especially chatty mocking bird near camp. After breakfast walked up road to the dropoff and back. Departed camp about 9:30am. Drove up Sandstone Canyon and Loop Wash on way out. Sandstone Canyon is quite impressive. Getting very windy by noon. Forecast is for 50 mph gusts afternoon and evening. Decided to head for home and not spend second night. Stopped for lunch along San Felipe wash. Drove out via San Felipe wash, Cut-Across Trail, Fault Wash, and Ella Wash. Got home about 3:30pm. 125 miles today. 240 miles trip total.
Anza-Borrego camping trip with Wen and Eddie. Departed house about 10:30am. Made ham sandwiches up Coachwhip Canyon for lunch. Bit of high overcast but mostly sunny. After lunch followed Ella and Palo Verde washes across to Split Mtn area. Drove up Fish Creek to end of Olla Wash. Had planned to camp in Olla but decide to continue up to Split Rock in Hapaha Flats instead. Arrived just before 4pm. Moved a big rattlesnake off the road a mile from campsite. Nice afternoon in camp with light breeze. Really a lovely campsite. Can see Plaster City and Signal Mtn off to the SE. BBQ steak for dinner and then have campfire in the Smokey Joe. 115 miles today.
Hiked the Shannon trail to my Flag over Palm Springs cache (GC2165) to drop off the travel bug i picked up on the Death Valley trip. Lots of Easter hikers out today.
Nice night. Slept well. 44° overnight low temp. Drove loop around Gold Valley before heading for home. Gas and lunch at Del Taco in Baker. Drove home via Kelso, Amboy, 29 Palms. Caches found today: GC1H4A4, GC10ZWF, GC10ZW6, GC1N84C, GC16KJN (TB 488297), GC18QD3, GC1K592, GC6A7, GC15NV0. 271 miles today. 824 miles trip total.
Very windy all night. Was worried about the tent a couple of times. Listed to Beethoven symphony #5 in tent before dawn. 40° overnight low. Drove back down Trail Canyon and stopped at visitor center, gas and store. Checked email to make sure Wen is okay. Drove out to Ash Meadow wildlife refuge and the Devil's Hole pupfish site. South through DV Junction then Deadman Pass and across Greenwater Valley to Gold Valley area. Awesome wildflowers in Gold Valley. Camped at end of road at Willow Spring. Neat site in rocks. Sunny warm afternoon but turned a bit cool and breezy after sunset. Cold sardines and crackers for dinner. Nice campfire in the rocks. Caches found today: GC1NEWO, GC9130. 123 miles today.
Nice calm night. Overnight low 48°. Hiked up Ashford Canyon to the Golden Treasure mine. Takes about 3 hours total. After hike continued north on main road. Stopped at Badwater cache GCH657. Used wifi at visitor center to check email. Tried to make payphone call to Wen but gave up. Drove up Trail Canyon to old mining camp up south fork. 11 miles on very rocky road. Tired. Camp is nice however and the cabin is great as a cold wind is blowing. Pork and beans for dinner. Enjoyed a warm stove fire in cabin. Stove isn't ventilated very well however. Jim slept in the cabin while i slept in my tent. 86 miles today.
Comfy night in cabin. Visited Saratoga Spring in morning. Take the Dumont Dunes road to Sperry Wash geocaching along the way. Nice flow of water in Amargosa River. Lunch at Acme talc mine. Explored the War Eagle mine. Tunnel over a mile deep. Takes 30 minutes to walk out. Gas in Shoshone $3.09 per gallon. Camped near Rhodes Spring. Noodles for dinner. Caches found today: GC19TP4, GC19J97, GCM68Q, GCMZ4Q, GC19JC2, GC10Z4J, GC11H86, GC19J9K, GC10JJV, GC16KK4. 92 miles today.
Death Valley trip with Jim Doss. Met up with Jim in Beaumont then drove to Death Valley via Victorville, Barstow, Baker. Explored Ibex Spring and Monarch talc mine. Camped at Bedspring cabin. Really an amazingly nice cabin. Just had a can of corn for dinner sitting the on cabin porch talking. Slept in cabin on comfy bed. Caches found today: GCJ7C8, GC5430, GC436A, GC438B, GC189AX, GCVBGQ, GC57D, JVNG84 (Jim's truck). 252 miles today.
Two weeks since i last went for a ride. But i have been doing lots of hiking. Around town and up to the canyons.
Went for a neat loop hike from Hermit's Bench in Palm Canyon, walked along the road to Murray Canyon, then followed the Coffman and Pelton trails up to the West Fork of Palm Canyon. The Pelton is one of the few local desert trails that i've never hiked before. Quite steep and exposed but really great views. Completed the loop by walking down the West Fork trail back to Hermit's Bench. Bit hazy day and warm climbing up Pelton but lovely 72° in shade at the West Fork stream crossing. Saw a rattlesnake on the way down near Palm Canyon. 8.3 mile loop taking exactly 4 hours.
Bit of a longer hike this morning from the Cathedral City cove up to and across Dunn Road, Vandeventer trail, cut-across trail to Wildhorse trail, Hotdog hill, Garstin trail, and down Araby trail. From the Araby trailhead i walked home. Love the middle area around the Vandeventer and Wildhorse trails. Totally alone and can't see any roads or buildings. Feels more remote than it really is. Total hiking distance 9.1 miles trailhead to trailhead taking about 4 hours. Beautiful day but getting a bit warm near the end.
Hiked with Kai up the Shannon trail to Smoketree mtn. It's been a couple of years since Kai and i hiked in the desert together. Was good to hike with him again. Picture of us on the peak is here.
Hiked up the Theleman trail from Andreas Hills, over Smoketree mtn, across the dip to the top of the Araby trail, then back and down the Theleman. Nice and warm with pretty wildflowers.
Great hike up the Maynard's Mine trail today from Andreas Canyon. Haven't hiked this trail since i was probably 18 or 19. I remember the hike as being a hard one but i had no problem today powering up the trail. I think i'm in better shape now than when i was 18. Perfect bright clear day for hiking with only a couple other people on the trail.
Hiked to Carey's Castle in Joshua Tree National Park with Eric and Angela. Used my topo map to find the correct route since Eric had accidentally deleted the track from his GPS. Was actually pretty easy to find by just following all the footprints in the wash. I surprised this place gets so many visitors as it's fairly remote and not on a maintained trail. Really a neat area with views of some spectacular rock palisades to the east. Weather was perfect and the wildflowers, especially encelia and apricot mallow, were superb.
Starting from the 1000 Palms reserve rode north, then east on Dillon Road to Indio, made my way back on Avenues 44, 42, 40 and Washington Street. Good 35 mile loop. Temps are warming up too.
Overnight low 48°. Sunrise at 7:20am. Depart camp at 7:50am after a perfect night. Drove out Pinkham Canyon road about 6 miles and hiked to Monument Mtn. Not sure i picked the best route. More strenuous hike than i had anticipated. Did not follow a track of any kind. Amazing view from the peak. So much desert. Signed peak register. Route back was down a steep boulder filled drainage. Glad i didn't try to go up that way. But the route took me straight back to my truck. After hike continued west on Pinkham Canyon road then took cut over to Thermal Canyon. Fun drive. From Thermal Canyon followed aqueduct road to Fargo Canyon road to Dillon. Drove home via side streets checking out a bike route back to 1000 Palms Canyon. Home about 3pm. Drove 60 miles today. 114 miles trip total.
Drove to Cottonwood in afternoon arriving just after 3pm. My favorite site B15 on the upper loop. Cold camping this trip with no stove. Campground was about 1/4 full when i arrived. Fee is now $15 per night. Up from $10. Afternoon high temp 80°. Clear and calm. Perfect. Sunset at 6:38pm. Campground less than half full by evening. Everyone nice and quiet. ISS/STS pass low in the NW at 7:45pm. Observing with TV76 tonight. Venus very pretty thin crescent in the west. Comet N3 Lulin somewhat wedge shaped. Also still visible in 10x42 binoculars. Comet Kushida UTL. 2264 Christmas Tree Cluster. Very pretty. Rosette neb visible. Tried with UHC but think i prefer without filter. Really like the OC at center of Rosette. OC 2301 very neat with two short strings of stars forming right angle. Lots of interesting little clusters and strings of stars in this area of Monoceros. Split Castor in the 9mm. Galaxies in Leo 2903, M95, M96, M105, 3384, 3377, Leo Triplet M65/M66/3628. In Ursa Major 3184, M81/M82, M108, M97, M109, M101, M51/5195. Drove 54 miles today.
Very nice daul pass of the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Discovery (STS-119) this evening. ISS was high and very bright in twilight sky then about 20 minutes later STS lower and much dimmer. The shuttle will dock with the station sometime tomorrow.
Starting at the 1000 Palms library rode east on Ramon, then north through 1000 Palms Canyon, west on Dillon, south on Mtn View, and east on Varner back to 1000 Palms. Basically circled Edom Hill. Perfect warm, clear day with no wind.
Hiked up the Shannon trail, across to Wildhorse trail junction, then back to top of Araby trail, across the dip, over Smoketree mtns, then back down Shannon. Pretty clear day with light breeze. Perfect day for hiking.
Breezy all night. Glad i put rainfly on tent. Eddie and i left about 8:30 am. Nice to be on our own again. Stopped at my Carrizo Valley site for a while just to enjoy the quiet. Had lunch along Fonts Wash before driving home. Got home about 1:30pm. Drove 138 miles today, 294 miles trip total.
Up before sunrise. Fresh coffee was good. Stopped at market in Borrego Springs and also checked email and twitter using the library wifi. Drove through Blair Valley to mortero and pictograph trails. Since Eddie was with me, and dogs aren't allowed on the trails, we left the others and continued south while they hiked. Had lunch along Indian Gorge road. Arrived at Bow Willow about 1pm. Just relaxed and enjoy a quiet afternoon before others returned. Site #12. Breezy cool evening but skies are clear with moon just past full. Another great carne asada dinner. Drove 70 miles today.
Drove down to the Anza-Borrego desert with Eddie. Met up with flickr friend Maureen, her husband Chris and son Weston at the Borrego Palm Canyon campground. Site #78. Eddie went on a little driving trip with my friends while i went for a ride. Rode from the campground through Borrego Springs, over Yaqui Pass, east on hwy 78, then back across Texas Dip on Borrego Springs Road. A 38 mile loop. Had a fun evening in camp with great carne asada fajitas for dinner. Talked around the campfire until after midnight. Thin overcast sky with full moon. Drove 86 miles today.
Eddie and i hiked the middle Lykken trail from the end of Mesquite this morning. Nice day but the Sahara mustard has pretty much taken over this trail.
Visited the northern Anza-Borrego desert with Wen's family today. There were tons of other people out as well checking the wildflowers. I'd normally not go to the park on a weekend during wildflower season but they wanted to visit and could only come on weekend. Not a day for solitude. Also a huge off-road event just east of the park upsetting to this leave-no-trace advocate. Pains me to see my poor fragile desert used as nothing more than an amusement park. We drove the Thimble Trail, visited Font's Point, had lunch along Font's Wash, and checked the wildflowers along Henderson Canyon road and Galleta Meadows. Very pretty day. Just too many people everywhere. A few photos from today are here.
Really good ride east on Ramon, through Thousand Palms to Washington Street, south to Country Club Drive then back to hwy 111 and home. Feeling energized!
Hiked up the Shannon trail to my Flag Over Palm Springs (GC2165) geocache. Cache is in good shape. Pretty day with nice wildflowers.
Comet N3 Lulin still visible from home in the 10x42 binoculars even through skyglow and first quarter moonlight.
Quick ride around town. Replaced my old worn bicycle chain today. New chain has 2 more links than original chain as the old chain had stretched that much.
Drove down to the Anza-Borrego desert do to some riding and to camp for the night. Rode S-22 from the Ella Wash turnout. Perfect conditions... sunny, warm, no wind. 21.2 miles riding distance. After the ride drove over to my regular Truckhaven site arriving about 1pm. Pulled up a whole bunch of Sahara mustard around my campsite. Spent some time following a nice big desert iguana north of my campsite for a while taking pictures of him. Afternoon high temp about 90°. Cooled to 85° at 3pm due to some cloud cover. Strong steady wind started at 4:30pm. Wind still strong and steady at 5:15pm with no sign of letting up. Also cloud cover will preclude any stargazing. Decide to drive home and not spend night. Got home about 6:30pm. 135 miles driving for trip.
Nice hike up the Araby trail this morning with Wen. Pretty day with temps just under 80° while we were hiking. (High temp for the day was 86°.) A good hike is a nice way to start a new month! Some pictures here.
Met two environmentalist friends of mine for a hike in Joshua Tree National Park today. Larry Hogue with the Desert Protective Council and nature writer Chris Clarke who maintains the Coyote Crossing blog. We hiked the Pine City trail and spent a few hours discussing all sorts of wilderness protection issues. After the hike i drove home via Berdoo Canyon. The road was in pretty good shape with only the usual rocky spots. The canyon seems to be popular with local jeep tour companies these days.
Rode east on Ramon, then back west on Varner to Palm Drive, then home via Vista Chino and Farrell. Varner uphill and into the wind is a good workout!
Hiked Cahuilla Canyon this morning. Lots of stuff blooming... chuparosa, phacelia, forget-me-nots, checker fiddleneck, even some lupine. Saw a nice big red diamond rattlesnake too! Picture here.
Rode east on Ramon, south on Bob Hope Drive, then back on hwy 111. Hwy 111 isn't a bad ride actually. Better than Ramon through Cathedral City!
Broken clouds most of the day but by evening the skies were clear. Drove up to Cottonwood to view comet C/2007 N3 Lulin during its closest approach to Earth. Surprised there were no other observers in the upper loop. Did not check the trailhead parking lot as i didn't want to disturb any imagers that may have been there. Comet Lulin very nicely placed 2° from Saturn. Through TV76 at 30x could see a 1° tail. Very pleasing view through 10x42 binoculars as well. Comet visible to naked eye as a small round patch. Saturn rings nearly edge-on with no gap visible. Also found comet 144P Kushida in Taurus. Dim and diffuse through TV76. No wonder i could not locate from home a few weeks ago. While driving home watched launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) as it lifted off from Vandenberg. Exciting to see streaking into the sky over Mt. San Jacinto. Very disappointed to learn later that the mission failed when a fairing failed to separate.
Hiked up the south Lykken trail with Eddie. Today was warmer than recent hikes.
Biked around the Salton Sea today starting in Mecca, south on hwy 111 through Niland and Calipatria, then back north on hwy 86 through Westmorland and Salton City. 116 miles total distance taking just over 8 hours. Great ride with Wen as my support crew. Couldn't ask for anything more. Pic of me and my bike.
Canyon/city loop. Warm up for tomorrow's Salton Sea ride.
Spectacularly beautiful day on the desert for a hike. Went up the Shannon trail and over Smoketree mtn. Absolutely gorgeous outside. Sahara mustard situation not looking too bad.
Hiked the north Lykken trail from Ramon with Eddie pulling up Sahara mustard as we went. GPS distance for reference: Trailhead to Skyline junction 1.42 miles.
Got up 2:30am to check comet C/2007 N3 Lulin. Very easy in 10x42 binoculars. Almost naked eye visible but not quite from the city. I'm sure would be naked eye visible from a darksky location. Also viewed with TV76 but could not detect either tail.
Hiked the north Lykken trail from Ramon with Eddie pulling up Sahara mustard as we went. GPS distance for reference: Trailhead to Skyline junction 1.42 miles.
Rode north on Indian Avenue to highway 62, highway 62 south to I10 then west to Whitewater exit, Tipton road to highway 111 them home through downtown. Temp about 60° but felt cold with overcast skies. The loop took about 2 and a half hours.
Rode north on Farrell, east on Vista Chino, north on Date Palm, east on Varner to 1000 Palms, then back via Ramon. Ramon Road through Cathedral City is not bike friendly. No shoulder and the edge of the road is full of potholes.
Ran another 3 mile loop. I'm starting to sort of like this running thing.
Hiked up the Garstin trail. Bright chilly clear day. Fresh snow on the mountains.
I'm not really much of a runner but this morning ran 3 miles. Felt pretty good. Maybe i should start running more often.
Rode north on highway 111 to Tipton road and watched a westbound train go by at the grade crossing. Up to Whitewater overpass thinking i could ride the freeway west to Verbena exit. Was surprised and disappointed to see on-ramp sign stating no cycles allowed. I was under the impression if there was no nearby surface street route that it was okay to ride on freeway shoulder. Need to look into this. Rode back the way i had come on Tipton and 111. Nice riding out here when there is no wind. Continued south through downtown then looped through the canyons back home. Besides the freeway access frustration was a very good ride.
Hiked up the Shannon checking the mustard situation. My efforts from last week not quite as successful as i'd hoped. Nice day otherwise.
Eddie and i hiked up Cahuilla Canyon and worked on killing some Sahara mustard.
Starting at the Thousand Palms preserve rode south to Ramon then back north to Dillon Road, west to Sky Valley, then east to Indio Hills, and then back to the preserve. Beautiful day and no wind!
Went out at 4:30am to find comet C/2007 N3 Lulin with the TV76. Really sad how poor my home skies are compared to the AB desert last week. Through the scope at 30x the comet looked about the same as it did from the desert through 16x binoculars.
Tried to find comet 144P Kushida with the TV76 this evening as it was high overhead in the Hyades but was UTL. Combination of city lights, crescent moon, the comet's low brightness, and small scope all left it out of reach.
Got up at 4am to view comet N3 Lulin again. Overnight low temp 42°. 10° colder without the wind to stir things up. Thought about going for another ride but decided to just sit in the warm morning sun a while instead. Starting to hear the weekend warriors and their motorcycles. Must be time to leave. Depart camp about 9am. Drive through Arroyo Salado and stop at Ella Wash overlook before driving home. Drive 80 miles today, 212 miles trip total.
Up at 4:30am to observe comet N3 Lulin. Big and bright through handheld 16x70 binoculars. I think i can just glimpse the tails on each side. Not sure. Comet is easy through 10x32 binoculars. Could not see naked eye. M81/82 nice high in NW through 16x70. Sort of wish i had the TV76. Coyotes calling in palo verde wash before sunrise. Overnight low temp 52°. Wind off and on during the night but morning calm. Drive back to Peg Leg marker and park truck. Ride south then west on S-22 by airport to visitor center, then by campground, Henderson Canyon road, Coyote Canyon road to end of pavement, back to Peg Leg start. 25 miles. Lots of Sahara mustard leafing out in Galleta Meadow area. I hate that stuff. Drive up Beckman Wash and take a break. No wind today. Is perfect. Deciding if i want to spend a second night. Drive into Borrego Springs and buy ice, beer, and some fruit at market. Discovered the library has moved to other side of shopping center. Old library is now sheriff's office. Library is much larger now. They even have chairs and electric outlets outside for all the wifi users. Check email and twitter using Touch and wifi. Decided it was too perfect a day to not spend another night camping. Found nice spot SE of Clark Lake just outside the park boundary. Pretty site next to a lush and blooming ocotillo with view of Borrego Springs. Sitting on the desert reading twitter posts from friends on TwitterFon. Cool i can read them offline. Can't send reply without wifi of course. A humming bird is busy in my ocotillo. Can see Venus in daylight by using moon as a guide. Really lovely afternoon. Sunset 5pm, temp 66°, wind calm. Venus and moon together in the west. Get really good cellphone signal at this site. Dinner of turkey chili, pickled vegies, and a real carrot. Kit fox visited after dinner. Cooler evening without the wind. In tent by 7:30pm. Listen to Beethoven symphony #4. Drive 35 miles today, bike 25.
Start Anza-Borrego camping/biking trip. Park my truck at the Peg Leg marker and ride S-22 to county line and back. 26.5 miles. Lunch at a campfire circle east of Fonts Wash. Stop at willow along Fonts Wash north of S-22. Thought about camping here but too windy. Leave after an hour or so and drive to Ella Wash. Not quite as windy. Arrive Ella Wash 3:45pm. Ocotillos very green and lush but not blooming yet. Sad to see both smoketrees at my site have fallen over. But i still love this spot. Sunset at 5:01pm. Wind has calmed down a bit. Temp 66°. Moon and Venus very pretty high in the west. Black bean soup and canned carrots for dinner. Alternately calm and breezy evening. Moon set at 8:25pm. Still a bit breezy but i'm happy in my tent. First time typing all my trip notes on iPod Touch. Bit slower but works okay. Listen to Beethoven symphony #3 before falling asleep. Drive 97 miles today, bike 26.5 miles.
Did some more Sahara mustard eradication on the lower Shannon trail. Pleased to see my work yesterday already showing results.
Working the lower Shannon trail doing some Sahara mustard eradication. Was chilly in the shade this morning.
Starting at the Mesquite Avenue trailhead Eddie and i hiked the Lykken trail south to the Cahuilla trailhead. The middle section of this is really a lovely bit of trail. Fairly level and not many people. Watched a kestrel tormenting a red-tailed hawk as they both circled overhead. Encelia are getting green and not as much Sahara Mustard in the middle area. GPS distances for reference: Mesquite trailhead to tables 1.56 miles, north tables to south tables 1.94 miles, south tables to Cahuilla trailhead 1.1 miles, total through hike distance 4.6 miles.
Beautiful day. Rode north on Palm Drive then east on Dillon to Sky Valley. Back via Mountain View, Varner, and Date Palm. When i got home i rebuilt the bottom bracket on my bike using a bike stand i just bought today at a yard sale. Worked great!
Hiked up Cahuilla Canyon with Eddie. Overcast day but no rain. Chuparosa are blooming. Also that damn Sahara Mustard is leafing out again. GPS distances for reference: Trailhead to first stream crossing 0.6 mile, to boulder 1 mile, to second stream crossing 1.28 miles.
Up the Garstin trail, over Smoketree mtn, across the middle mesa, then back down the Garstin. When i arrived there were 20 cars parked at the trailhead. Once i got hiking i could see close to 40 people making their way up Hotdog hill. I've never seen such a big group. Managed to avoid them. GPS distance for reference: Garstin trail to Smoketree mtn 1.42 miles.
Driving east on I10 listening to Obama inauguration on the radio. I've supported Barack Obama since the very beginning and today is a very good day. Can hardly believe i heard Rush Limbaugh on radio replay Obama taking inauguration oath and "bleep" out his middle name. Limbaugh is a vile piece of shit. Parked my truck at junction of highways 177 and 62 then rode west on highway 62 almost as far as Clarks Pass and back. Excellent ride. 38 total miles. Love riding open desert highways. Meet with Jesse Simmons on his walk and give him a ride to Parker. Depart Parker at 2:50pm. Drive home via highway 95 to Blythe. Highway 95 is a pretty drive. Drove by a huge field full of sheep. Gas in Blythe is $1.93. Depart Blythe at 4:15pm. Home at 6:05pm. 334 miles driving today and 38 miles cycling.
Rode the first 25 miles of the Tour de Palm Springs route. Basically north on Indian, west from Garnet, then north on Worsley road to junction of Indian and hwy 62. Back via Indian, Dillon, Palm Drive. The tour route continues east on Dillon all the way to Thermal then back via surface streets. The loop i did today took exactly 3 hours.
Hiked up the Shannon trail to Smoketree mtn then crossed over the dip to the Araby trail. Followed the Araby trail down then walked back through the wash to where i'd parked my truck. GPS distances for reference: Shannon trail to Smoketree mtn 1.78 miles, Smoketree mtn to top of Araby trail 0.9 miles, top of Araby down to trailhead 1.48 miles. Total distance for the loop 4.86 miles taking 1 hour 45 minutes.
Hiked to Murray Hill from the Rimrocks trailhead, then down via the south side, over Hotdog hill, and back to Rimrocks. A really nice hike but temps are getting warm with high about 85°. Brought the GPS unit today and measured distance from trailhead to peak at 3.22 miles. Total distance for the loop was 7.90 miles and took exactly 3 hours to complete.
Desert day trip with Eddie poking around some local back roads. From Desert Hot Springs we drove east on Dillon Road with side trips up Wide Canyon, Deception Canyon, Berdoo Canyon, and lastly Fargo canyon. Did some rifle shooting up Deception Canyon at the aqueduct. Was a bit worried that gunshots would upset Eddie but they didn't seem to bother him. Can see the Salton Sea shining far off in the SE from Dillon Road. I was surprised to see a big yellow desert tours Hummer coming down Berdoo canyon road full of tourist. I wonder if they came all the way down from Joshua Tree or just up and down the canyon. Eddie and i had sardines for lunch in Fargo Canyon. Drove home via 1000 Palms Canyon road. 88 miles.
Hiked up the Garstin trail, over Smoktetree mtn, across to the Wildhorse junction then down the Theleman trail. Gorgeous bright clear day on the desert. Just spectacular.
I went over to PSP this afternoon and parked south of the southern frontage road on a little hill to watch planes. Very pretty clear day. I was sitting there for maybe half an hour when an airport security pickup drove up next to me. He sort of startled me. But the guy was very nice and said the "paranoid airport administration" (his words) wanted me checked out. He said i was fine and he was sorry for disturbing me. While i was chatting with the security guy a Palm Springs police car stopped on the paved road oposite us. That seemed a bit much. The security guy said he didn't know why the cop was there. Maybe was just coincidence that the cop was driving by and stopped to see if there was a problem. Anyway, i verified with the security guy that it's okay to park south of the southern road to watch planes and he said it's fine. Not much activity at the airport this afternoon otherwise.
Canyon/city loop. Maybe i'll blog my rides this year. Not that they are of much interest to anyone beside myself.
Hiked the Araby trail with Eddie today and checked my Araby Hope (GC9FD) geocache. Beautiful day out.
Went out at 6am to pick up newspapers and caught a perfect overhead pass of the International Space Station (ISS). Just looked up and there is was bright in the NW.
Hiked the south Lykken trail with Wen and Eddie. Bit cool and breezy but very clear and bright day.
Rode 15 miles today. Good way to start the new year. Last year i rode a total of 801 miles. But i only started riding in June. The total for 2009 should be a bit higher. Happy new year!
© Florian Boyd